1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. Presets

Let The Sun Shine In – Sunbursts In After Effects

Read Time:2 minsLanguages:

Today we're giving our Premium members a Sunburst Pack from Tibor Miklos. The AE project works with AE CS3 or later, and features 17 unique animations that are easy to customize in almost unlimited variation. Below are some other resources for sunbursts or radial rays inside After Effects...

Project File Description:

  • 17 unique animations
  • Easy to Customize
  • Unlimited variations
  • Works with AE CS3 or later

As the project shows there are a variety of ways to get a sunburst effect in After Effects, and methods in Illustrator and Photoshop are sometimes similar. Here's some other resources collected by AE Portal for making sunbursts or radial rays inside After Effects.

Todd Kopriva answers a question on how to make radial rays in After Effects with an easily tweakable project and oblique pointers on how you make one on your own. Todd later added another method, "Make a shape layer containing a single big circle. Set the stroke width to be the same as the diameter of the circle. Make the stroke a dashed stroke. Set the dash length to taste." The technique was inspired by Create a Vibrant 3D Pixel Type Treatment at VectorTuts+ and is more fully explained on Todd's blog.

Another tutorial is Vector Sunburst from Precomposed. This video tutorial includes a download of some Photoshop Shapes (not from PhotoshopShapes!), and shows you how to construct a Photoshop Shape and use it in an AE Shape layer. You might miss the animation controls available to AE Shape layers as seen in Todd's examples, but both should have better edges than a similar effect produced in Premiere with the Pinwheel transition.


Aharon Rabinowitz builds on the initial version of Todd Kopriva's Radial ray Shape project in Red Giant TV Ep. 36: Create a Psychedelic Background. A 3rd-party filter (or a dancer) isn't really required; you could just use the somewhat hobbled-by-comparison CC Light Burst instead of Shine.

Stephen daimyo2k has a 6-part After Effects tutorial on Youtube, Expressions / Illusions, that among many other twists creates a simple optical illusion without keyframes from a radial ray element created with the Polar Coordinates filter (in part 6).

You could instead use the Venetian Blinds transition to quickly get some stripes, pre-compose, and then use Polar Coordinates, which is what Brad Zimmerman did in Spiral Sunrise at CMD. In the same tutorial Brad also shows a Shape method for AE using just adjusting the points of the star, position, and adding Pucker & Bloat. Another CMD tutorial, Looping Backgrounds: Wiggle Effect, takes the sunburst theme in another direction.

Laurence Grayson of Shortformvideo recently showed how to use Shapes to create a sunburst like Todd Kopriva did in his first blog post. Laurence says he used to use a "complex method to create radial rays (grid+polar coordinates), but there’s actually a much easier way to do it!" Here's the video:

Looking for something to help kick start your next project?
Envato Market has a range of items for sale to help get you started.